Sally’s Salon review

Forget swordfights and spaceships - hairdressing is the latest gaming challenge. Sally's Salon puts you in charge of a busy beautician and your mission is to keep your punters happy with haircuts and nice cups of tea.

Sally’s Salon has had a run on the Mac, PC and Nintendo DS, and is now unleashed on the App Store. The goal is to make your clients look fabulous quickly, so they don’t get angry and storm out. By tapping on the touch screen, you move customers, who walk in one by one, from station to station. Leave them sitting anywhere too long - in the waiting area, in the barber’s chair, at the cash register - and they’ll head straight for the door, taking their money with them. Earn enough cash though, and you’ll not only pass the level, but get a chance to buy items to upgrade your salon.

Though Sally’s Salon doesn’t have difficulty modes, it does have five different locations, including a mall, a ski resort, and the Ritz, each with 10 sub-levels to complete. The game remains pretty unchallenging until well past the first set of levels.

The developer makes up for this slow pace in survival mode, where players are challenged to satisfy an increasing number of customers, running back and forth between them until one walks out to end the round. This mode provides much more of an immediate challenge. And since Sally’s Salon has a statistics screen, there’s plenty of incentive to play again and again, beating old scores.

The game does have some basic flaws. The upgrades bought between rounds _ such as a coffee pot _ are difficult to put to use. In certain locations, some of the salon doesn’t fit on the iPhone’s screen, leaving a line of forgotten customers. It was also prone a crashing when we were testing the game, erasing all game data in the process.

OUR VERDICT

The game’s graphics are colourful and cute, and the hairdo choices lend Sally’s Salon a sense of humour. It’s not a bad game, just a mediocre one, redeemed by its silly sense of style.

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